Shanthi Boutique Hotel by Jiakun Architects and CSD Design

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A sensitively developed hotel, designed to respect the surrounding Songyang County


Words by Sophie Tolhurst

Images by Wang Ting

Project Info

Interior area

1,400m2
Project start date

05/2017
Completion date

09/2020
Opening

1/10/2020
Developer

Beijing Tong Heng Si Cheng Investment
Location

Songyang, Lishui, Zhejiang
Architecture

Jiakun Architects
Interiors

Jiakun Architects and CSD Design
Chief architects

Liu Jiakun
Architectural design team

Chen Kan, Yang Ying, Liu Su, He Qiang, Yi Huizhong
Interior design

Zhang Can, Chen Kan, Li Wenting, Yang Ying, He Qiang, Yi Huizhong, Deng Yu,Tang Jun, Wang Boyu, Liu Wenjing, Wang Zhangping, Yang Yan, Zhou Xiaohui & Guo Yuting
Landscape design

Chen Kan, Yang Ying, He Qiang, Yi Huizhong & Li Jing
Lighting consultant

Dept of Lighting Planning & Design, Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning & Design Institute
Interior lighting design

Dept of Lighting Planning & Design, Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning & Design Institute, Zhang Can, Li Wenting, Chen Kan, Yang Ying, He Qiang, Yi Huizhong
FF&E design team

Tang Jia, Xian Lijuan & Wei Ai
Signage design team

Wuyong Art & Design, Zhang Can, Li Wenting

 

Jiakun Architects and CSD Design have recently completed the Shanthi Boutique Hotel, located in the centre of Songyang County, in the southeast of the Zhejiang province, China. Tucked away as Songyang is – described by the Chinese National Geographic as ‘the last hidden gem south of the Yangtze River’ – the area, containing many mountain villages, has nonetheless seen a number of interesting architectural projects in recent years. From 2014, a collaboration between Songyang County and Beijing-based firm DnA, led by Xu Tiantian, aimed at revitalising the rural areas of the county with ‘architectural acupuncture’. These small-scale projects included opening up factories and workshops to interested passersby, and creating a pedestrian bridge over the Songyin River to connect two villages. 

Jiakun Architects, led by Liu Jiakun, has been working in the area for three years on the Songyang Wenli Community Centre, across architecture, interiors and landscaping for this more public project. Work on the Shanthi Boutique Hotel started in 2017, and Jiakun invited CSD Design’s Zhang Can to collaborate on the interior design.

 

The hotel has been constructed with the environment not against it, alongside pre-existing structures, and with private areas as well as communalThe hotel has been constructed with the environment not against it, alongside pre-existing structures, and with private areas as well as communal

The hotel has been constructed with the environment not against it, alongside pre-existing structures, and with private areas as well as communal

Situated on a historically layered site, the hotel is spread across new buildings by Jiakun, as well as an old district committee building. Jiakun’s architectural approach takes care to respect the pre-existing structures on-site and nearby, ranging from a 1970s water tower to a Confucian temple. Natural elements are equally considered, with the reception carefully worked around an old tree.

The hotel has been constructed with the environment not against it, alongside pre-existing structures, and with private areas as well as communalThe hotel has been constructed with the environment not against it, alongside pre-existing structures, and with private areas as well as communal

The old and new, the man-made and natural; all are intimately nestled together. Courtyards, visible through the glass walls of connecting corridors, offer curated glimpses of all these elements together, with harmony, the architects suggest, between ‘everything under the heavens’.

Doors with the ghosts of previous locks have been retained to nurture an atmosphere of lived-in authenticityDoors with the ghosts of previous locks have been retained to nurture an atmosphere of lived-in authenticity

The communal area of the hotel sits on the border area between the old and new buildings. It is visible and welcoming, but thanks to perforated screens offers its users some privacy, allowing guests to make the most of the spot next to a wood burner for cosy fireside conversations.

Contemporary furnishings such as crisp white bed linen still featureContemporary furnishings still feature

The guest rooms are spread over two floors of the former district committee building, and a newly-built, single-story structure, and the interiors of each vary in response to the architecture. In the new structure, glazed walls, low lighting and soft neutrals allow for continuity between inside and out; painted cement walls and wooden panelling were chosen to reflect light and shadow, aided by the discreetly hidden reflection screen and shading system on the top of the curtain walling. There are internal courtyards, private to each room, that are secluded by lush bamboo plants.

Contemporary furnishings such as crisp white bed linen still feature

In the older building, original wooden doors have been kept, rich with history via their cracked paint and the evidence of previous locks and door handles. Ancient China, meanwhile, is evoked through a palette of dark brown wood baseboards and the dark green accents – across corduroy curtains, sofas and lamp shades. Yet the look is not overly nostalgic, and deftly combines contemporary designer furniture in a range of styles: there are caramel leather sofas, terrazzo-style surfaces in the bathroom, sleek pendant lights and crisp white bed linen. Across old and new, examples of palmweaving by local artisans provide centrepieces for the interiors, showcasing an enduring tradition of the local culture.

Courtyards allow guests and visitors to assimilate the peace and quietude of Songyang CountyCourtyards allow guests and visitors to assimilate the peace and quietude of Songyang County

Jiakun Architects and CSD have created a boutique hotel that feels symbiotic with the natural and built surroundings. The respectful, considered approach taken throughout by Jiakun is not surprising: a previous project, Memorial to Hu Huishan, was built for a 15-year-old girl who lost her life in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. It was made using ‘rebirth bricks’ – rubble combined with materials such as wheat stalks and cement to make new bricks to rebuild.

Here, Jiakun is not rebuilding from scratch but is working with a complexly-layered and almost chaotic site, which has carefully had its different parts restored and reconciled to contribute to the ongoing revitalisation of the area for both the local community and its growing numbers of visitors.



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